Future of KOCV Radio One Step Closer to Being Resolved

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--KOCV'S financial troubles could be a thing of the past.  Three News Public Radio stations in Texas have expressed interest in taking over the station's license.

Representatives were in the Permian Basin on Tuesday submitting their bids to the OC Board of Directors.  They all have a common goal, getting the radio station's signal out there and heard.

The deadline for turning in the bids was 2 p.m. on Tuesday. By the time a public forum to meet them started at noon, all three interested parties had already turned their bids in.

When it comes to the future of KOCV, they're all on the same page.  Their differences come, in the way they plan to go about making changes.

"Whoever wins the bid, will be moving the tower, will be upgrading the signal, will be getting a new transmitter. All those things are a certainty," David Martin Davies, News Director for Texas Public Radio in San Antonio, said.

Radio stations in San Antonio, Lubbock and Marfa want to be in the drivers seat for KOCV.

"We've got news coming up and down from all over Texas. We want to, not just be able to bring that news to Midland/Odessa but also be able to get the good things that happen in Midland/Odessa out to the rest of the state," Davies commented.

Texas Tech Public Media recently took over another radio station in San Angelo. They hope their experience will win them some extra points.

According to General Manager, Derrick Ginter, "There's been a fair amount of positive feedback from the San Angelo community as to the programming we currently have available in that market. If the Odessa College trustees are looking for an example of how it can be done, we have a perfect example with our station in San Angelo, offering that service now."

Marfa Public Radio is the youngest of the three bidders, but shows just as much heart. Officials say their strength is in their locally originated programming and adding Midland/Odessa to their market, would be an extra bonus.

"Currently, we broadcast over 15,000 square miles, with KRTS to about 15,000 people. Here, in Midland-Odessa, the Permian Basin, it's 20 times our market, so for us, it would be a huge focus. This would be the jewel of our broadcasting," General Manager, Tom Michael, said.

It will cost whoever wins, between $250,000 to $500,000 for a new transmitter and tower that will make sure the signal gets to an area that has little or no public radio now.

"We see Midland as an untapped market. It's an untapped resource, especially from a public radio perspective. No one's really asked them before, to donate to a local radio station, other than Odessa College and that's going to be changing in about a week," Ginter said.

Michael adds, Marfa is one step ahead of the game, with possible tower site locations and more, "We have cash on hand for the bidding process and building a new tower and transmitter that would properly serve Midland and Odessa."

In competition with each other, all bidders agree, KOCV and Midland-Odessa will be better off in the end.

"I think there are three excellent bidders here and I think the Permian Basin would be well served by any of them," Michael said.